Articles Posted in South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission

A worker was killed in a Rock Hill construction accident at a high school campus recently. boom lift

The decedent was later identified as a 20-year-old from North Carolina. He had been operating a boom lift at the time of the incident, since he was working on ongoing brick-cladding repair to the exterior of the high school.

Authorities revealed he worked for a construction subcontractor, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration has launched its own investigation into the incident. The construction company released a statement expressing condolences and also insisting this was an “isolated incident.”

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Two South Carolina workers were killed and a third seriously injured when a driver left the roadway and struck them as they were working alongside the shoulder of a highway in Aiken County. road construction

According to the Aiken Standard, the workers were employed by the S.C. Department of Transportation. The driver did not stop, but authorities reportedly arrested a 29-year-old for a hit-and-run later that day. (The incident occurred at around 8:30 a.m.) Witnesses to the crash tailed the vehicle, allowing police to identify the alleged driver. He has been charged with two counts of hit-and-run involving death and one count of hit-and-run involving injury.

One victim, 54, had been employed by the state transportation department since 1996, and the other, 64, had been employed by the state since 2012.

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A former data entry clerk for a South Carolina school district will have another opportunity to have her “change in condition” claim weighed. The original workers’ compensation claim stemmed from a May 2006 fistfight between two male students in which the plaintiff was pinned against a counter and sustained serious injuries to her neck and back. sad

Later that summer, the plaintiff filed for disability, alleging she was permanently disabled. A commissioner overseeing her case ruled she suffered 45 percent disability to her back as a result of the incident. However, her last payment of benefits was issued in January 2008.

Then, a year later, the plaintiff filed a claim for change of condition, asserting she was suffering from depression as a result of her back injury. She requested a change of condition hearing in March 2011.

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The scheduled-member statute of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act spells out the number of weeks’ worth of compensation to be paid claimants based on the “member” or function claimant has lost. For example, a plaintiff who loses a thumb will be entitled to a total of 65 weeks for total loss. A plaintiff who suffers loss of a leg will be entitled to 195 weeks’ worth of compensation. The list goes on. power

In a recent case before the South Carolina Supreme Court, justices were asked to consider whether a claimant’s ability to hold gainful employment could, on its own, preclude a determination of permanent disability per the scheduled-member law. The court answered: No.

According to court records, plaintiff was employed at a large chain hardware store when, as he was helping a customer, he fell on the concrete floor and suffered severe injury to his back. Continue reading

The South Carolina Supreme Court issued a workers’ compensation case ruling that it conceded was as “rare as the proverbial hens’ teeth.” It had to do with an immediate appeal of an interlocutory administrative decision. Normally, in these cases, such matters must reach a final conclusion before either side can appeal them. However in this case, which justices described as a set of “extraordinary circumstances,” the court ruled that requiring the plaintiff to wait for a final agency decision wouldn’t provide him with an adequate remedy. spiderTo explain why, we start by explaining there was never a dispute in Hilton v. Flakeboard America Limited as to the compensability of the plaintiff’s work-related injury. Both sides agreed the plaintiff sustained a compensable injury as a result of an insect or spider bite while working at a sustainable forest product manufacturer. The issue was whether the plaintiff required additional medical treatment to reach maximum medical improvement.

Maximum medical improvement is one of the thorniest issues in workers’ compensation claims. It’s the point at which the worker’s injuries have stabilized, and any further functional improvement is not likely, even with continued physical therapy or medical treatment. In other words, that’s as good as it’s going to get. From this point, the employer is going to seek a determination of the degree of permanent or partial impairment, which will set the stage for all future workers’ compensation benefits. It will define which long-term benefits the employee can expect.

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A construction worker in Utah lost his life after jumping in to a trench to rescue a co-worker from a cave-in. News outlets have only identified the victim a a 41-year-old man. Co-workers say he was a husband and father. Trench

Although authorities at the future housing development site characterized the incident as a “tragic accident,” the fact of the matter is that trench cave-ins are the type of incident that should never occur if proper safety protocol is followed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports an average of two workers are killed each month in trench collapses. Employers have a legal duty to provide a workplace that is free from recognized safety hazards. When there is a trench on the work site, that means employers are responsible for complying with guidelines on trenching and excavation, as set forth in 29 CFR 1926.651 and 1926.652.

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Spartanburg County has received 45 complaints of employees seeking workers’ compensation benefits since a project to remove mold at the local courthouse started over the summer. mold

Since mid-July, the clerk of courts reports nearly 19 percent of its workforce has been afflicted with mold-related illness. There are a total of 240 employees who regularly work at the courthouse. The county council agreed the nearly 60-year-old facility, located on Magnolia Street, was in dire need of repairs. Approximately $300,000 has been set aside specifically to remove mold.

Unfortunately, the abatement is taking much longer than originally anticipated. Originally, contractors vowed to have the work finished by Labor Day. However, removal crews reportedly discovered even more mold problems. Numerous departments were displaced while work was conducted in their normal workplaces. Most employees are now back to their original locations. However, the county continues to receive worker complaints that include problems such as raspy voices, nosebleeds, sore throats, and swollen eyes.

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A building boom in South Carolina has prompted a construction worker shortage that is reported to be affecting us here much worse than in other states. That’s according to a recent survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. The word from companies in South Carolina is that they are having a much more difficult time finding construction work help than their counterparts in other areas. Respondents of the survey revealed they intend to keep hiring more workers, even though many here are already pulling higher wages and more overtime. constructionzonesign

Four out of five contractors in South Carolina – or 83 percent – indicated they are struggling to find craft construction workers. That’s compared to 69 percent nationally. Further, 7 out of 10 contractors here have vowed to hire more people in the coming year, though a only a small percentage believe it’s going to get easier to do so.

On the one hand, this is good news for workers. It means there are jobs available, and workers may have more leeway in demanding higher wages and safer working conditions. However, it could also lead to problems because companies may in their haste to fill positions hire people who perhaps aren’t qualified or fail to provide the proper training for each job. Industry insiders are concerned because, particularly when it comes to skilled labor, it’s important to have the right person for the right job. Unfortunately, many companies are going to find themselves hiring workers who are less experienced than would be ideal for certain projects.  Continue reading

Late last month, public health officials in Florida spread the word about the first, locally-transmitted cases of the Zika virus in the continental U.S. mosquito

Initially, there were four people in a northern Miami neighborhood who were identified as having contracted the virus after being bitten by local mosquitoes. That number has since (as of this writing) growing to 14, prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to issue an unprecedented warning advising pregnant women to avoid travel to that area.

While there have been no reports of the virus in the Carolinas, it’s not a stretch to say the virus will most likely make it this way at some point. The fact that the virus has spread to the continental U.S. isn’t shocking. In fact, it was widely-anticipated. Still, it creates great concern when we know the virus has proven to cause fetuses to suffer severe birth defects when a pregnant woman is bitten by a mosquito carrying infected blood.  Continue reading

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has started to lay the groundwork for improving the regulatory schema for tree care industry safety standards. The idea is to drive down injuries and fatalities in the tree care industry. treetrimming

There are an average of 70 deaths nationally every year in the tree care industry. OSHA insiders call this rate “unacceptable,” and pointed to the fact that many tree care industry workers aren’t given the right protective equipment. They often are not properly trained either. In some cases, even where training is offered, it isn’t provided in the language workers best understand.

An informational stakeholder meeting was held recently in Washington, D.C., Bloomberg Business reported. It was recommended there that any new rule cover a myriad of different hazards, including unsafe tree branches, insect bites, pesticides and broken aerial lifts.  Continue reading

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